Viewing windows at the Ballard Locks salmon ladder. Credit: Natasha Dillinger
1. Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle
At the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, commonly known as the Ballard Locks, boats of all sizes ease in and out of Seattle’s ship canal. A few yards away, spawning salmon thrash their way up a 21-step fish ladder, which is actually more like a staircase of water.
From the refurbished viewing area, you can watch the salmon swim through the 18th "step" through underwater windows. Whether you spot a salmon or not, the Ballard Locks make a great destination for families any time of year.
When: Peak viewing times are in September, and some stragglers continue through October. In normal seasons, there are regular free tours, but they're suspended right now.
Location: 3015 N.W. 54th St., Seattle
When: September and October